Pali Lehohla. Picture: SUPPLIED
Pali Lehohla. Picture: SUPPLIED

More South Africans are getting educated but fewer are being absorbed into the job market, especially those who do not have tertiary qualifications, says statistician-general Pali Lehohla in the Educational Enrolment and Achievement 2016 report.

The youth are the worst affected group in terms of unemployment, according to the report, which gives an overview of how policy shapes education outcomes. It was also found that education in SA mirrors the socioeconomic status of the country’s population groups.

The number of people who completed grade 12 increased 211% from 3.7-million in 1996 to 11.6-million in 2016. However, unemployment rates among those who had completed matric remained high at 38.6%.

School dropouts were the most likely to be unemployed.

The report also highlighted SA’s urban and rural divide, with youth in metros such as Johannesburg, Buffalo City and Cape Town having a high likelihood of being well educated.

In January, the IMF flagged SA’s skills mix as inadequate for its economic growth needs. In December, credit ratings agencies S&P Global Rating, Fitch Ratings and Moody’s Investors Service warned in their reviews that SA’s unemployment levels were unsustainable.

The report also states that increasing numbers of black students have enrolled at tertiary institutions, but at 13% this is too low relative to the size of the black population.

Their white counterparts, who make up 8% of the country’s population, fare much better, with 75% enrolled in early childhood development institutions. White students also have the financial muscle to afford tertiary education.

Equal Education spokeswoman Leanne Jansen said early childhood development and foundation-phase education were crucial for developing children.

Data for the study was collected from a community survey, the general household survey for 2016 and other administrative sources.

Overall, more South African youths are completing high school but there remain those who face challenges finishing school and finding jobs.

Graduates have a better chance of finding work than youths who only have matric. Despite this, the unemployment rate among graduates rose slightly by 0.4 percentage points to 12.6% in 2016.

Surprisingly, South Africans aged between 15 and 64 who had no schooling recorded a lower unemployment rate than those who had primary and secondary schooling or those who had dropped out of school.

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